A GROUP of white businesspeople who were recently evicted from Victoria Falls Boat Club in the resort town have reportedly stayed put at the premises as the Local Government ministry and Victoria Falls Town Council continue to haggle over ownership of the land where the club is located.
Report by Richard Muponde Senior Reporter
The developments came after the ministry ordered the boat operators to vacate the property following reports that they had failed to pay rentals for the past four years, accumulating $16 000 in rent arrears.
The council stopped the eviction, arguing that government had no jurisdiction over the land since it fell under the local authority.
The local authority claimed it assumed ownership of the 15-hectare piece of land where the club is located when the premier tourism resort assumed town status 10 years ago.
Informed sources argued government wanted to take over the business ahead of the forthcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) general assembly next August.
The proposed government takeover has caused panic among tour operators leasing State land in the resort town.
Government had been leasing the land to the boat club since 1972 until the local authority became a town some 10 years ago.
Yesterday, Victoria Falls mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane said: “Things keep on changing as we are trying to solve the issue. At the moment I don’t have the latest information. Phone me tomorrow (today) or Friday when I am back in Victoria Falls. Currently, I am in Harare. However, I can confirm that the businesspeople are staying put at the premises as we find a lasting solution.”